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Artist Joshua Allen creates innovative ‘Inflatable Bag Monsters’ by using the air flow generated from subways streaming through the underground tunnels of good ol’ NYC. What do I mean by this? Well, Josh can create the Lockness monster out of recyclable trash bags and some wind. Oh yea, and he made a polar bear and a giraffe. Talk about cute environmentally-friendly art that makes every kind of pedestrian smile. Thanks to this video, you can also be a couch potato (computer potato?) and smile. Go ahead, smile.

It is Featured Friday! What a great interviewee I have here today. He is a little bit of everything really- entrepreneur, environmentalist, adventurer, go getta, etc. Zakary Zide‘s Environmental Film Festival is quite impressive and down right worth blogging about. He is just as dynamic in person as you would imagine him to be. After reading this, you’ll want to meet him for yourself. Oh, lucky you! Meet him on October 29th at mini-film festival screening at The Brower Center.

LC: Back in 2004, what inspired you to embark on creating an environmental film festival?

ZZ: I firmly believe that the admixture of nature’s ability to creatively problem solve + the curiosity of the human spirit can change the world. So I guess I started the EarthDance film festival in 2004 for 4 reasons:

1. I wanted to demonstrate that stories about the environment aren’t always political, & aren’t always gloom and doom…the natural world is full of humor, quirky characters (the praying mantis – come on!) + inspiration.

2. To provide a container for people to come together, + create a venue for people to share their stories + multi-media explorations of their relationship with the natural world. Environmental films aren’t just for eco-freaks. We all have a relationship to the natural world; even if we’re only talking about an ant invasion in your kitchen. How you deal with the ants, that’s the interesting bit.

3. To help create a ‘culture of nature’ + raise money for environmental issues.

4. To inspire + be inspired to take action.

LC: It is now quite a few years later and EarthDance has proven to be quite eco-taining, (considering over 40,000 people in 9 countries have attended!) how has your vision developed since the festivals inception and what should new viewers anticipate to see?

ZZ: EarthDance is not your average film festival. I like that. And fortunately, from our success, it seems that other people like our quirkiness too! We’ve always believed that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice entertainment for ecology. Our films are selected on the basis of being both entertaining and informative or emotionally moving in some way. We like weird and funny. Like Spike and Mike’s festival with an eco twist. This will always be our core curatorial philosophy.

One way things have evolved is that we are getting many more submissions now than we did in the first couple of years. The availability of technology for people to produce their own films on a relatively cheap budget has been a good thing for storytelling, and for helping people evolve from consumers of media into producers of media.

LC: As the world becomes more and more aware of the environmental challenges that we are faced with today, how have artists responded and have you noticed any shifts in the content being produced?

ZZ: It seems that the films and stories have become much more personal and less generic. By this I mean that they have been focusing more on individuals who have some unique relationship to the environment. I’m thinking of films like Salt by Mick Angus, or Balancing Point by Danny Brown, or Muskrat Lovely by Amy Nicholson. This is a good thing. To me, these films are less formulaic and much more interesting to a broader audience than a story about clear cutting. Which is to say, these films are more inclusive and less political.

LC:  These series of short films created around the world work to unite individuals and help foster a true ‘culture of nature’ as you describe it. As your efforts build a boundless community that feeds on the beauty of the world and human potential, how has the collection impacted your life?

ZZ: EarthDance Films has been a real gift in my life. It has given me a chance to meet and work with incredibly talented people and interesting audiences from all over the world. It has also made me a better curator and editor. I am grateful for the opportunity to help build community and (hopefully) inspire some people along the way!

LC: If you could choose one movie to show to an audience of ever-so-impressionable 3rd graders and college students, what film would you choose?

ZZ: Well, we generally have two collections – one for families, and one for older audiences. The films for older audiences tend to be a little more risque.
So for kids, I’d say Lost in the Woods by Laura and Robert Sams, or Pigeon Impossible by Lucas Martell.
For the PG-13 crowd, I’d say Spiders on Drugs by Andrew Struthers, or Motel by Thor Freudenthal, or Cheat Neutral by Beth Stratford, or Our Wonderful Nature by Tomer Eshed. Wait, how many films was I supposed to suggest?!

I highly recommend everyone click on ‘Spiders on Drugs‘ and watch the 2 minute video. It is sure to make you smile. Thanks to Zakary for making moves on the environmental frontier by cross-pollinating art & the environment in such a beautiful way. I’ll be seein all y’all on Oct 29th!

With Montell Jordan-like confidence, Hanes is changing the game and saying, “This is how we do it”.

Best motivational speaker I’ve ever heard.

Now this is what I’m talking about.

We need to be more clean! Don’t let this video go unseen. It’ll inspire you to change your daily routine- of driving along in your mobile machine. It is part of the vaccine. Get goin’ all you green bean kings and queens!

The new Hefty commercial tells me one thing about the brand: it cares more about small smells rather than big smells. As you can see from their commercial every single ‘smelly’ item that they recommend consumers put in their odor free bags are actually compostable. So let me get this straight, Hefty is helping to increase the size of smelly landfills by selling odor-blocking bags.

There is much to be said on the topic of leadership, and this video makes but one mere point.

However, it is quite an important point indeed.

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